Jack is the protagonist and narrator of White Noise. A middle-aged professor at the College-on-the-Hill and a multi-divorcé, he is intelligent and unimposing, a curious man willing to engage in thoughtful conversation. He is… (read full character analysis)
Jack’s fourth and current wife. Like Jack, Babette has been married multiple times and has retained custody of two children, Denise and Wilder. She is intelligent while projecting a pragmatic and wholesome sensibility… (read full character analysis)
Jack’s colleague at the College-on-the-Hill. An ex-sportswriter, Murray works in the American Environments (or popular culture) department and hopes to corner the market on Elvis Studies, just like Jack has done with Hitler Studies… (read full character analysis)
Jack’s fourteen-year-old son, and the oldest of the children living with the family. Heinrich is an eclectic know-it-all determined to confound his father by intelligently employing obscure knowledge that distorts simple logic. Armed with… (read full character analysis)
Babette’s smart and exacting eleven-year-old daughter, whose father is Bob Pardee. Denise is obsessed with monitoring her mother’s health, playing close attention to what Babette eats and never hesitating to inform her of… (read full character analysis)
Babette’s son, and the youngest of the children living with her and Jack. Wilder, who behaves like a good-natured toddler, can’t speak more than twenty-five words, a fact that both worries and pleases… (read full character analysis)
A colleague of Jack’s at the College-on-the-hill. Winnie is a relatively young neuro-chemist whom everybody on campus regards as brilliant, an assessment that makes her sheepish and reclusive. When Jack finds Babette’s stash of… (read full character analysis)
A man working for an organization that stages simulated evacuation drills. Jack talks to this technician during the Airborne Toxic Event, telling him the details of his exposure to Nyodene D. The technician also explains… (read full character analysis)
Babette’s father, who visits unannounced in the middle of the night and stays for several days. Vernon is a gruff man who appreciates manual labor and is highly intelligent in a more pragmatic, working… (read full character analysis)
Jack’s German teacher. Dunlop lives in the same boarding house as Murray, but is reclusive and private. At times, he has also taught Greek, Latin, ocean sailing, and meteorology. Once Murray describes Dunlop… (read full character analysis)
The German nun who treats Jack’s bullet wound in the Pentecostal hospital in Iron City. In the course of tending to his wrist, she reveals to Jack that she doesn’t actually believe in God… (read full character analysis)
A blind man Babette reads to on a weekly basis. The old man has a taste for tabloid magazines like the National Enquirer and the National Examiner, which tout conspiracy theories and rumors. He… (read full character analysis)
Denise’s biological father. A glad-hander and natural schmoozer, he is often down on his luck and unreliably searching for new opportunities. When he arrives at Jack and Babette’s house, it is clear that he… (read full character analysis)
Jack’s seven-year-old daughter and the offspring of his marriage to CIA operative Dana Breedlove. In contrast to her half-brother Heinrich’s taste for disaster and his eagerness to intellectually dupe others, Steffie is emotionally sensitive, often feeling “embarrassed on other people’s behalf.”
Jack’s doctor. Initially surprised by Jack’s sudden desire to schedule frequent physicals, Chakravarty confides that he’s glad Jack is taking his role as a patient seriously. Despite this appreciation, though, he is evasive and withholding in his assessment of Jack’s health.
Heinrich’s nineteen-year-old friend who is training to set the record for the longest amount of time spent in a cage with deadly snakes. Heinrich clearly admires him, while Jack is puzzled by the boy’s disregard for death—a carelessness he comes to envy and admire.
Old Man Treadwell’s elderly sister, who dies of “lingering dread” after she and her brother are stuck at the shopping mall for four days straight.
Bee’s mother and one of Jack’s ex-wives. High-strung and independent, she is married to Malcolm Hunt, whom she feels she doesn’t truly know. Bee suggests that Tweedy would benefit from focusing on her own problems, rather than obsessing over the mystery of her husband.
Tweedy Browner’s current husband and Bee’s stepfather. Malcolm is a “high-level jungle operative” who often goes undercover.
Heinrich’s mother and yet another of Jack’s ex-wives. A former foreign-currency analyst who carried out research for secret theorists, Janet now goes by the name “Mother Devi” and lives on an ashram, or a place of religious retreat modeled on monastic Hindu communities.
Jack’s ex-wife, whom he married twice. Dana works as a CIA operative who carries money from place to place and reviews books the organization sends her. She is Steffie and Mary Alice’s mother.
Jack’s oldest child and the daughter of Dana Breedlove. She is nineteen, lives in Hawaii, and works with whales.
The head of the American Environments department at the College-on-the-Hill. Alfonse knows four languages, has a photographic memory, and collects prewar soda bottle caps. Like the rest of his department, he is a New York émigré.
A New York émigré in the American Environments department. The former bodyguard of the musician Little Richard, he dies between the Fall and Spring semesters while surfing, an event that unsettles Jack and Murray because of its suddenness.
One of the New York émigrés in the American Environments department who enjoys having odd, spirited discussions about popular culture, trivia, and circumstantial memories with Murray, Jack, and his other colleagues at lunch.
Yet another of the New York émigrés in the American Environments department who engages Murray and Jack in odd lunchtime conversations.
Babette’s doctor, whom Jack calls at home to ask about Dylar.
Tommy Roy Foster
A man in prison for murder. Heinrich plays chess with Tommy in the mail.
A psychic whom the Blacksmith police consult when they need to find a missing person. Although Adele’s visions never lead the police to what they were looking for, she invariably helps them discover and solve some other unknown crime.
A man leading the simulated evacuation drill in which Steffie and Heinrich take part. Jack overhears this leader tell the volunteer victims, “The more we rehearse disaster, the safer we’ll be from the real thing.”
Babette's son from a previous marriage who is growing up in Australia, and who does not have a TV.